2013 Fantasy Football Week 7: Mike Wallace Start or Sit?

By Dustin Manko
Mike Wallace
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Some fantasy football prognosticators thought that Mike Wallace would be among the wide receiver leaders in scoring this season. He would be one of the featured players in the Miami Dolphins offense that was lacking the big play player. So far Wallace hasn’t exactly panned out. Wallace ranks 64th in overall standard format scoring, behind Tavon Austin, Brandon LaFell and Robert Woods. He has a lower per game average than Golden Tate, Jerricho Cotchery and DeAndre Hopkins. This weekend, the Dolphins travel to Foxboro to take on the New England Patriots, and fantasy owners might need to consider sitting Wallace.

The primary reason for this has not been the inconsistent play of Wallace. He is still capable of hitting a “boom” game and putting up big points for his owners. The reason is this weekend Wallace likely will square off against shutdown corner Aqib Talib.

Talib has been excellent in shutting down opposing wide receivers this season. Two weeks ago, when the New Orleans Saints came to New England, Talib drew the assignment of covering Jimmy Graham, possibly the most dangerous pass catcher in football. Both Talib and Graham left the game early to injuries, but before that happened, Talib effectively negated Graham, holding him without a catch on six targets. Let that sink in. Jimmy Graham had his only game without a catch since his rookie season. When New England visited the Cincinnati Bengals, Talib held A.J. Green to only 61 yards on five catches. In week three, the Patriots hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Talib held Vincent Jackson to three catches and 34 yards.

Those receivers are all much better than Wallace, and with the exception of Jackson, one could argue that the aforementioned receivers have had superior quarterbacks throwing the ball. It would stand to reason that the Patriots and Talib should be able to contain Wallace.

In the interest of being fair, however, I went back to 2010 to the only time Wallace (then with the Pittsburgh Steelers) went against Talib. Talib managed to pick off a pass from Charlie Batch intended for Wallace. Wallace would ultimately go on in that game to three catches, 100 yards and two touchdowns, although only one of those touchdown catches was on Talib’s coverage, where Wallace got behind Talib for a score.

It is a game of inches and bounces. Talib has shut down some of the top tier receivers this season, and was within a few inches of shutting down Wallace during their only matchup. If you have better options, then you might be inclined to sit Wallace this week. I have Wallace lower on my board than Larry Fitzgerald, Cecil Shorts and Hakeem Nicks for example. If you don’t have better options, then all you can do is start him and hope for the best.

As always, I welcome your comments. If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to listen. Just back it up with some facts and solid evidence. Thanks for reading and good luck this season.

Dustin Manko is an author at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @DustinManko, ”Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google

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